Kiora Inc, a startup that provides kiosk-based video rental solutions for low bandwidth regions, has received an undisclosed amount in funding from Intertrust Technologies Corporation, a company that invents and develops technologies that enable independent parties to interact over distributed networks in a secure fashion.
Talal G Shamoon, CEO, Intertrust, said, "We were impressed not only by Kiora's distribution model, but also by the technology they've developed, both in terms of capabilities and cost efficiencies. Kiora has great potential to transform video distribution in places like India and China by solving the last mile problem in a very unique way."
Kiora, formerly Bluebox Media Technologies, was founded by Prasad Sanagavarapu and Ganesh Janyavula in 2010. Both of them are serial entrepreneurs who together have extensive experience in the content security and distribution domain. Kiora is an end-to-end content distribution platform that provides a state-of-the-art infrastructure for content owners to distribute their content in both offline and online mechanisms. The company is headquartered in Hyderabad and Sunnyvale, California.
The company's service uses a specially designed internet kiosk for retail outlets or community centres where consumers can plug in conventional USB sticks and get their choice of premium movies and TV shows. The content can then be downloaded at home for playback on custom-made set top boxes (STB) that will retail at under $20 (Rs 1,100).
Kiora has already licensed content from major Bollywood studios and has launched retail kiosks in its first test market in the Silicon Valley. According to the company, despite having a very large South Asian community and excellent internet penetration, Silicon Valley's conventional video rental outlets still offer only limited non-Hollywood content.
The company will later expand to other geographies with similar demographics and will include other ethnic and regional content popular among immigrant communities across the world. It plans to grow its footprint in retail outlets in the US and India first, before expanding to other geographies. It is also exploring short-term opportunities with franchisees who seek to cater content to non-Indian communities in the US, and distribution partners in the Middle East, Africa, South East Asia and China.
"We started Kiora to provide high quality video to the Indian market in a way that was sensitive to people's lifestyle and Internet infrastructure. We have received sensational response from consumers and from studios that are looking for better ways to sell movies and reduce piracy, said Sanagavarapu, co-founder, Kiora. "We now see similar opportunities around the world," he added.
To prevent piracy, the company will deploy Marlin-based digital rights management (DRM) protection in its entertainment content. Marlin is an open-standard DRM technology that is being used in audio, video and e-book distribution platforms around the world. Intertrust is a founding member of Marlin.
Intertrust holds over 300 patents and has over 250 patent applications pending worldwide. Its inventions enable a broad range of products that use DRM and trusted computing technologies, including operating systems, digital media platforms, consumer electronics and mobile computing devices, web services, and secure enterprise automation. In addition, the company also hosts a venture incubator that invests in information security, privacy and information analysis technology in the areas of consumer media, health and smart grid energy management. It is headquartered in Silicon Valley and has regional offices in London and Beijing.
(Edited by Prem Udayabhanu)